Walter Big Chief Ellis AKA Wilbert Thirkield

Blues Vocals, Piano

Born: Nov. 10, 1914  Birmingham, AL

Died: Dec. 20, 1977

His blues piano was rooted in the rolling, hard hitting styles of Birmingham. Accompanied Tarheel Slim, Brownie McGhee, Jack Dupree and others. The songs he was known for were "All Down Blues," "Blues for Moot," "Chief's E-Flat Blues," "Dices Oh Dices," and "Prison Bound."

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame


Prickly insights and sensitive accompaniment were the stock-in-trade of pianist and vocalist Wilbert Thirkield "Big Chief" Ellis. A self-taught player, Ellis performed at house parties and dances during the '20s, then left his native Alabama. He traveled extensively for several years, working mostly in non-musical jobs. After a three-year army stint from 1939 - 1942, Ellis settled in New York. He accompanied many blues musicians during their visits to the New York area. He started recording for Lenox in 1945, and also did sessions for Sittin' In and Capitol in the '40s and '50s, playing with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee for Capitol. Though Ellis reduced his performance schedule after moving from New York to Washington D.C., his career got a final boost in the early '70s. He recorded for Trix and appeared at several folk and blues festivals until his death in 1977. ~ Ron Wynn, All Music Guide

Source: http://new.music.yahoo.com/big-chief-ellis/biography/

 

Subscribe to Newsletter

Rick Carter Radio - All Alabama Music

Accepting submissions and adding them daily. Artists can send their songs in MP3's to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. One song per email. Graphics and song and artist info should be included of course.

This space
for rent!

Contact:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.